A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 23 – Finding Answers Underground

A(nother) Year in Seattle

Sunday – November 30, 2059 – Trouble

This morning started with a phone call. I was still half asleep when Case picked up the phone and headed into the other room.

We’ve gotten so many of those calls we don’t even worry about it, but this call wasn’t like the rest. It was just Therese asking if she and Ethan could join us for brunch.

We hadn’t been planning on going, but with my culinary skills its usually best we go out when company comes calling. It was a nice quiet day for the most part. We got a few stares from people when they recognized Therese, but other than that we were able to dine in peace.

At least until the pagers started going off. Mine went off first, followed by Case’s then Therese’s phone started ringing. It was quite amusing. There we were– nice calm diners one minute, the next we’re scrambling for our phones.

“Ethan,” all three of us called.

Ethan looked at all three of us and shook his head. Then he looked at Bri. “Looks like its going to be you and me,” he told her.

Bri smiled happily at him as she stuffed more scrambled egg into her mouth.

There was a riot down in the barrens and everyone was being mobilized. By the time we got down there, riot squads had squelched the worst of it, but there were plenty of people in need of my services.

The three of us arrived in the SUV since Therese left her car for Ethan to drive Bri over to Council Island. That in itself was interesting. We arrived at the police blockade– Case showed his ID, but that wasn’t enough. We all had to.

A UCAS Marshal, a paramedic and a reporter all in the same car. It almost sounds like the start to a joke.

Like I said, by the time we got there and dispersed it was obvious that Therese and I would be finished long before Case was. As I finished up with the last patient and helped them into an ambulance, Therese came over.

“Did you hear what started it?” She asked me.

“I’ve heard about 12 different versions so far,” I sighed. “Lone Star rousted some squatters, tempers flared… Woman tried to beat up a police car and was shot… Two rival gangs… ”

She shook her head. “Child services came to pick up two kids– it got worse from there.”

I turned and looked at her for a moment. “I thought they weren’t open on Sundays.”

She gave me a resigned shrug. “The office is closed– but…”

I nodded.

They may not have been able to process cases, but there were still agents out there just in case. Looks like I’ll have to wait until Case gets home to get the details.

Monday – December 1, 2059 – Missing Children.

Case got back at about 0200 this morning and was in no shape for answering questions. By morning I think he was up to a 5 on the Glasgow coma scale– then again, you get 3 points just for breathing.

I spent the morning filing, going through reports and keeping Bri amused at the table map. Case was looking much better when he joined us for lunch. I was hoping he’d have the rest of the day off, but no such luck. He still had work to do.

He filled me in as best as he could and mentioned that someone stated that protective services has been taking a lot of children from the Barens and recently there had been a lot more children taken who’s only danger was the fact that they lived in the Barens.

He knew that comment would get to me and that I’d investigate– he was counting on it and I didn’t let him down.

O’Hare is subpoenaing protective services for their records for the last few months based on the ‘incident’ in the Barens. Yes, it was classified as an ‘incident’. There was even a special news logo for “The ‘incident’ in the Barens.”

I was going to ask him why he wasn’t getting the records, I mean he’s the lead investigator on the case.

Simple answer– me. With what happened to me, he can’t ask for the records– he can’t even look at them without jeopardizing the investigation. O’Hare promised to let him know if anything was out of the ordinary.

If. Yeah… Why am I getting that feeling again?

Tuesday – December 2, 2059 – A trip to missing persons.

Before reporting in, I stopped off at missing persons. I’m not exactly sure why I went. I mean, I haven’t been there all that often lately, but still. It was just one of those feelings you know?

I don’t even have enough concrete information to explain what may or may not be going on– it’s just… something is going on and I have to know what it is.

Not that the trip downtown actually helped me put a finger on it. But I did catch up on the station gossip and I gave some of the detectives someone to razz.

Other than that… I’ve got a whole lot of nothing. Until I figure out what the pieces of the puzzle are– there’s no way I’m going to make it fit.

With my luck there is no one thing– no guiding force. Just a lot of odd things adding up to nothing.

Missing children– Child services… the guy in blue… they’re everywhere I turn these days and none of it makes sense.

Maybe Case can help. I don’t know anymore.

Wednesday – December 3, 2059 – Call out at the Arcology.

Today was a Wednesday, which is about all I can say about it. Halfway through the week, I’m too optimistic to be depressed, and too much of a realist to think it won’t get much worse.

The Arcology’s been open to the public what… a month? And now we have our first major call out. I’m not sure if I should be amazed that its taken somebody this long to do something stupid– or saddened that it’s happened in the first place.

Some kids from the college decided to do some levitation jumping– and must have gotten distracted. The way the game is supposed to work is that they’d climb to the top of a high area, in this case, the top of the amusement park in the arcology, and then jump– firing off a levitation spell about 5 feet from the ground.

The idea is to get as low as possible before activating the spell.

I learned about this game two years ago when somebody else missed. In this case two people missed. One missed the ground– the other found a girder. They guy on the floor was pretty bad. I took care of him first– figuring that the first ambulance in would take him off my hands and I’d move on to the rescue work when some back-up arrived.

Back-up arrived first in the form of Dwight. I let him take over with our grounded mage-to-be and started working my way up the latticework. I couldn’t help but remember how nice the white plasteel beams and girders that decorated the windows looked at the Gala. They had been decorated with streamers and balloons then– now all I was worried about was the young man laying precariously over two of them.

As I climbed I was reminded just how big the arcology is. Five stories straight up, and the patient started stirring– worse, he was starting to panic. I had to move quickly, and if there’s one thing I hate it’s moving quickly on precarious footing. I got to where he was and he almost knocked me over when he started thrashing.

I hooked myself to one of the beams and started trying to assure and secure the patient. It was close. Fire and rescue caught up with me in a few minutes and we had a mage lower him down to the waiting ambulance crew.

As we turned to go, the fireman in front of me slipped. I lunged forward catching his arm, and went over myself. If I hadn’t hooked myself to the structure that would have been it for both of us. As it was, I had the breath knocked out of me and my left arm practically dislocated.

There is nothing like looking down at a friend, and the five stories below him knowing that you’re the only thing keeping gravity in check– and all that’s keeping you from falling is your safety gear. (and people wonder why we’re so anal about our equipment)

I don’t think I remembered to breathe until we were both on the ground and trying to laugh it off. At least I would be if my sides weren’t killing me. The responding Captain wanted me to go to the hospital, but it was close enough to quitting time that I promised I’d get it taken care of and headed over to Council Island.

When I got there, Mom Walker gave me a stern look, told me to call Case and then meet her in her study. I should have known that Case would have heard about it and that he’d be worried.

At least I got to see the arcology again.

Thursday – December 4, 2059 – Covering the Ork Underground

Well, it seems that holiday shopping accidents are as much a problem in the Ork Underground as they are at the malls. Only the folks involved are usually much bigger. At least my patient was a lot more co-operative than the last holiday shoppers were.

The patient was a man in his late 30’s– 6 foot, 250lbs. He looked up at me when I arrived and just laughed.

“What?” I asked as I knelt down next to him. His good mood was catching.

“Just…” he started laughing. “I hope you aren’t planning on lifting me– I’d break you!”

I smiled at him and shook my head. “Nah,” I told him. “I’m just the advance medic.”

I wish all my patients were as easy to work with as he was. I mean he was obviously in pain, he’d seriously twisted his ankle and knee slipping in something on the floor, but he was calm and patient about the whole mess.

I warned him that it was probably going to hurt and he was more concerned about me and my safety when it came to immobilizing his leg.

“I kick,” he warned me.

“Don’t worry– I have good medical coverage,” I answered.

It didn’t come to that though. Hugh showed up to help with the process.

I suggested I hold the patient while he manipulated the leg. It earned me a chuckle from my patient, Dirk.

After that, it was just a question of getting him on the ambulance. No complications, no worries.

It was just as well, as we were heading out we got two calls: a woman in labor and a man complaining of chest pains. Hugh, bless him, volunteered for the chest pain case.

I’m senior medic– I could have taken that call made him take the labor call, I wish I had.

When they said “in labor,” they meant “IN LABOR!”

I got there and took over trying to keep the woman comfortable, but there was nothing I could do to slow down the process The baby’s head was already crowning when I got there. It was the easiest birth I’ve ever dealt with… until the second one came… and the third.

I know it wasn’t easy on my patient. But I was already juggling two babies, trying to make sure she was all right when baby number three decided to make his grand entrance.

I was never so happy to see the ambulance crew!

I rode in with them. With mom and three babies– they needed another set of hands. I’m happy to report that mother and children are doing fine.

And probably in better shape than their medic.

Friday – December 5, 2059 – An evening in the underground

Another day and another call to the underground. I have to admit– it was my first time going into the back reaches of the underground. A man was trapped when his floor gave way beneath him.

This time my patient was downright hostile. It was like it was all my fault that he was there.

Sad thing, in his eyes it was true. In his worldview, humans had forced him to live there– refused to give him a ‘real job.’ Which meant he lived in the lowest rent area of the underground. Lowest rent, and least structurally sound area.

The situation was tense. He wanted my help, but he also wanted to blame me for everything. He hated me because I was human– because I was there, and because he needed me.

It guess it must be really hard to like someone who’s doing their best to shatter your well defined preconceived notions. Human’s aren’t supposed to care about ‘his kind.’ Bad enough we got the likes of Humanis running around, but when everybody else starts believing their press, they just make my job harder.

I finally gave up and told him that I didn’t care what he believed about me. That wasn’t my concern. All that mattered to me was his health and well being and getting him where he could get the medical help he needed.

The medical aid that arrived while I kept him stable wasn’t from Citywide. It was one of the local mages. He took care of my patient and of course, the man thanked him. He merely glowered at me as if to say that I was unable to help him because I didn’t care about him.

At least the mage thought differently. He watched me as I packed up and smiled.

“Thank you.”

I looked up at him and smiled. “Just doing my job.”

The answer was one that I’ve repeated often enough that I almost believe it. He knew better, but he didn’t press the issue.

It was just as well because a few minutes after that we were both standing there staring at the blue man. The mage studied him with some fascination while I started trying to find the danger that always seemed to be associated with his appearance.

“I think we should get out of here,” I stated as I grabbed my gear and headed for the door. As we exited the building– there was another shudder and this time the wiring went. All we could do was throw the circuit breaker on the place and wait for the Electric company to come and take care of the situation.

It wasn’t until they arrived that I realized that the mage was staring at me.

“You have see the bane-ghorrym before?”

I looked at him. There was something in his tone– amusement? Amazement? I couldn’t really tell. I nodded slowly.

“What it and does it mean?”

He smiled. “It is… the protector of children, a being of energy– sometimes called upon by those in need. It is said that the bane-ghorrym only makes himself known when one under his protection is in need.”

I wanted to ask more– to know what it all meant, but the man merely shook his head and moved away.

“Everything in its time,” he told me. “In its time.”

I hate answers like that.

Saturday – December 6, 2059 – Looking for answers

I thought a lot about my experiences with the bane-ghorrym. The first time I’d seen him was before the sacrifices– before the summoning spell that even made hardened Federal Mages nervous.

The summoning spell that I still knew nothing about since those in the know were tight lipped about the whole thing.

I thought about that, about the children, the figure in blue… it wasn’t until we were heading over to Council Island that I realized that the back part of the underground was practically underneath the arcology.

I tried not to think about it, but it was there nagging at me for the rest of the day.

Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker

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